Pets at Work

 

​Nearly 20 percent of American companies allow pets at work, and interest in allowing pets is growing. Many employers only allow dogs, but some allow other animals like cats, ferrets, and iguanas. Pet programs are a low-cost employee benefit that can:

• Decrease absenteeism,
• Increase camaraderie,
• Reduce stress and promote a relaxed work environment,
• Increase morale and productivity, and
• Stimulate the creativity of employees.
Before implementing a program, consider:
• How many pets can an employee bring to work at one time?
• Will you require employees to supervise their pets at all times?
• Will you require proof of the pet’s current vaccinations?
• How will the company deal with the inevitable “accidents” at work?
• Will you provide “pet stations” and trash receptacles for employees to clean up after their pets?
• Will you allow pets in common areas, such as break rooms, meeting rooms, or rest rooms?
• How will you handle complaints from employees who are allergic to pet dander?
• How will you deal with aggressive or disruptive pets in the workplace?
Although employers can realize some benefit from allowing pets at work, there must be rules. Employers should develop and communicate firm guidelines. They should make clear that bringing a pet to work is a privilege, not a right. If a pet has accidents or is disruptive or overly aggressive, it may be “fired” to prevent future incidents and preserve the program.